Are you looking to reach more potential clients, spend less on advertising, and get a higher return on investment for your marketing budget? Inbound marketing is a great way to reach potential clients. It’s budget-friendly and it’s highly effective. Let’s take a look at what inbound marketing is, how it works, and what architectural firms can do to take advantage of it.
What is inbound marketing?
HubSpot, a leader in marketing training and software, defines inbound marketing as “a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t always want, inbound marketing forms connections they are looking for and solves problems they already have.”
There are three phases to attracting new customers through inbound marketing: attract, engage, and delight.
Attraction involves providing valuable content to establish yourself as a trusted advisor. This can be done through blog and social media posts that provide value to potential customers. By educating potential customers, they come to recognize you as an expert.
Engaging with your audience ensures that you are communicating with potential leads and customers in a way that makes them want to build a long-term relationship with you. This applies to a range of people in the firm, from architects interacting with clients to receptionists taking calls from prospects.
Delighting ensures that customers are satisfied with your services. Post-project surveys and closeout meetings can be used to solicit feedback on your firm and other members of the team.
Inbound marketing is not a sales pitch
Inbound marketing is not a sales pitch or an advertisement. Good inbound marketing content provides valuable information for potential customers. You want to provide content that focuses on concerns your potential clients may have and helps them with their problems. By providing valuable content you are establishing a rapport with your audience, making them more likely to purchase your services when they are ready.
It’s about the long game
Although inbound marketing can have quick results, its true value can only be seen in the long-term. Your goal is to build a relationship of trust with prospective clients, and this takes time. It’s like meeting someone at a networking event. You meet, exchange information and emails, then meet for coffee and eventually talk about business. You wouldn’t introduce yourself and immediately ask for the other’s business. Provide valuable information and prospects will eventually come to you when they have a need and understand the value you provide.
Inbound marketing yields better-qualified leads
You may not see results right away, but when you do, you tend to get better and more qualified leads, because prospects have self-selected into your sales funnel. They have identified themselves as someone interested in the content you offer. And since they have been reading your content, they are often more knowledgeable than leads gained with other methods.
In recent surveys by HubSpot, companies have consistently reported that the cost per lead is at least 60% lower than the cost per lead for more traditional outbound marketing. Inbound strategies offer a higher ROI than advertising and other outbound efforts. Because of its success, inbound has become the chosen marketing approach by more than 75% of businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Inbound marketing creates more opportunities to reach your market
By positioning you as an expert in your field, an inbound strategy will most likely result in more speaking, writing, and press opportunities for your company. This is because people in other industries (like the media) will start to see you as an expert. As you get more exposure, your audience will continue to grow, leading to more opportunities to connect with potential clients.
The first steps of inbound marketing
You may be wondering what you can do as architectural firm to take advantage of inbound marketing strategies. These days it’s all about your online presence and what you say there. Here are some ideas of how you can provide great content and drive more leads:
- Create content that shows:
- that you are a subject matter expert
- that you understand your clients’ pain points and how you can solve them
- what it’s like to work with you
- Use a variety of forms of content, including blog posts, social media posts, website copy, and/or downloadable assets, like e-books and white papers
- Post your content on your website, company LinkedIn page, or personal LinkedIn page
- Guest post on other websites and in other publications your clients read
- Speak at conferences your potential clients attend
- Be a guest on podcasts your potential clients listen to
- Engage meaningfully on LinkedIn and other social media platforms your clients frequent
Inbound can work for you, too
Due to the size and nature of the services architectural firms provide, potential customers tend to put a lot of research into their decision. By providing quality content that potential clients find valuable, you can move your firm to the top of their list through attraction. Once there, continue to provide good customer service to ensure that your clients are engaged and have a positive experience. Then after their project is complete, continue to delight them by seeking feedback on your services and their experience. Follow these steps and you will continue to see increased success in your marketing efforts.